Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, and Other Goodies: Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 34


It's been thirty-four Sunday brunches thus far - something that makes me think, "What is the reason for engaging in this tradition?"  Happily, the reasons I discovered are valuable, and many.

  • Brunch is the best meal of all the meals.
  • Even if the rest of the week has been hectic, brunching reminds me to slow down and enjoy quality time with Michael.  There's something to be said for having a long, slow meal with someone (or many someones).
  • It forces me to be creative and concoct a meal.  Creating meals is an art like anything else - painting, writing, whatever - so it's intensely valuable to exercise my creative muscles regularly.  And if you're anything like me, it's all too easy to get "too busy" to be creative, pushing it down on the priority list despite its importance.
  • As another extension of the second point, I think it's good to have at least one day a week to slow the pace of life.  There's always work to be done, things to do - but you've gotta slow down sometime, and Sunday just happens to be my favorite day to do that.  Nothin' like a good book accompanied by a cuppa coffee on a Sunday morning, followed by good food and good company, let me tell you.
  • Brunch food is a treat, especially if I've been eating wholesome food all week.  I mean, not every brunch is fried tofu po'boys or donuts, but still.  There's usually something a little decadent goin' on with brunch foodstuffs.  
For this meal, we decided to return to the brunch concept of "a plate full of goodies" - chickpea patties, sauteed greens, roasted potatoes and blueberry pancakes, to be specific - instead of just making one main thing (which is also awesome, but we've been doing that a lot lately).  

Seems like a lot of work, but it really wasn't - the chickpea patties were leftovers from last night's supper, and would be easily replaced with any sort of protein-y thing you've got kicking around.  Greens are speedy to saute, and roasted potatoes require a bit of time but minimal effort.  And pancakes?  Batter takes 10 minutes to make (if you're slow), and the rest is just the zen-like activity of frying them up.  We got fancy and made a blueberry sauce (also very quick to make), but a drizzle of maple syrup and a pat of butter is even quicker.  Brunch doesn't have to be a labor-intensive meal!


Though the chickpea patties tasted awesome, the recipe still needs some tweaking and we really want to share it with you guys when we get it right.  So close!


As for the sauteed greens - take half a bunch of whatever green you've got (I used chard, Michael used kale) de-stem them (kale and collard stems are pretty tough), and chop the leaves.  Heat a little oil in a skillet and saute a clove of garlic for a couple minutes, until it's fragrant.  Add the greens and a little salt, cooking until they're nice and wilty, adding a splash of water if they look dry.  I like to cover and pan-steam 'em.  When they're nice and cooked, add a splash of red wine vinegar (or lemon) and season to taste.  Nice and simple.  Half a bunch will serve two people, or one hungry, greens-loving person.


For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 400F, then scrub the 'tatoes, making sure to dry them off.  Chop 'em into chunks or wedges, toss with a little oil, seasonings, salt and pepper, and roast on a baking pan for about 25 minutes (the time will vary depending on the size of your potato chunks), stirring the potatoes once or twice.  Voila!  I really like using blended seasoning mixes on potatoes like Montreal Steak Spice, curry powder, or an Italian-style mix.

And last but not least, blueberry buttermilk pancakes!


Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes 4 side servings

Ingredients:

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons sweetener (agave, maple, granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons neutral oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 generous cup fresh or frozen blueberries

A little neutral oil, for frying
Fresh blueberries, maple syrup and/or margarine, for serving

Directions:

1.  Combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and set aside to curdle.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and salt.  Pour the milk mixture into the flour bowl and add the lemon zest, sweetener, oil and vanilla.  Stir until just combined - be careful not to over-mix.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

3. Heat a little oil in a nice non-stick pan over medium-low heat, and pour your pancake batter into shapes and sizes you desire.  You know they're ready to flip when the underside lifts easily from the pan and little air bubbles cover the surface of the pancake.  Cook until both sides are golden brown. 

4. Serve with fresh blueberries, maple syrup and/or margarine - any toppings that you love on pancakes.  


These pancakes are beautiful - the lemon zest really pops out the flavor of the blueberries, without being overwhelmingly lemon-y.  They're nice and fluffy and soft, just like the pancakes of my childhood that came out of a box.  And so easy!


Fresh, juicy tomatoes with some salt and pepper make a good addition to any plate.  Next time I'll be all over that!  

Hope you guys had an excellent Sunday - In other news, I've got a product I'm really excited to share with y'all next week.  Until then, take care!

8 comments:

  1. Wow....yummy brunch....I'm hungryyyyyyyyy....somebody serve me all this. :-)

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  2. I 100% agree with yo about brunch, it is my favorite meal too. I love taking the time to slow down and enjoy a beautiful meal with amazing company. It feels special and it is worth the effort. You know I'm your #1 fan for your Sunday Brunch Series :)

    Your pancakes look perfectly fluffy and beautiful. I love all of the accompaniments too and I have to give a special mention to those potatoes! They look perfectly crispy and golden, just the way I like my potatoes. beautiful meal!

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  3. I really miss Australia's brunch culture. But it does seem to be catching on here, so hurrah! I love the multiple-components nature of this brunch! So many pieces to play with :)

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  4. I love weekend brunches soooo much. Yours looks so satisfying. Potatoes at breakfast are the greatest, hey!? Love them.

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  5. Awesome brunch spread! I love the multiple components idea, and the conceptual way you thought it out. It is not labor intensive and has a lot of variety and nutritional value! And your pancakes look incredible, totally trying that recipe this week. Can't wait for the chickpea patties! I usually favor a more sausage-inclined brunch protein (haven't found a vegan bacon I enjoy too much) so it should fit the bill!

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  6. Yep, you're right on all counts - brunch is totally the best meal of the week (even if it is just looking at your brunch post!) The whole tapas brunch idea works for me. And it's like your main and dessert on the one plate - less washing up! Mind you, anything with fried spuds on the side looks pretty good. And good call on the tomatoes too. Nice.

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  7. I agree with everything you said about brunch, plus it seems to be the only meal where it’s totally acceptable to eat both sweet and savory things. The mish mash brunches are the best! That’s what I love about potluck style brunches, you get an assortment of tasty things without having to put much effort into it. Those pancakes look crazy fluffy and delicious, super noms right there.

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